72 Nations on Board for 2009 Assessment

by Andreas Schleicher

The Programme for International Student Assessment is an internationally standardized assessment jointly developed by participating countries and administered to 15-year-olds in schools.

Managed by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the international assessment entails three-yearly examinations of student performance in key subject areas in the principal industrialized countries making up 90 percent of the world economy. A distinguishing feature of PISA is its concept of competency, which relates to the capacity of students to apply knowledge and skills in key subject areas and to analyze, reason and communicate effectively as they pose, solve and interpret problems in a variety of situations.

The PISA survey was administered in 43 countries in the first assessment in 2000, in 41 countries in the second assessment in 2003 and in 57 countries in the third assessment in 2006. Seventy-two countries have signed up to participate in the fourth assessment in 2009. The United States participated in each.
Tests are typically administered to between 4,500 and 10,000 students in each country.

Further details about PISA are available at